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Post Office closure talks are slammed

PUBLISHED: 16:36 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:19 12 August 2010

AN MP has condemnded a consultation process into the closure of thousands of Post Offices, writes Kate Nelson. Bromley and Chislehurst MP

AN MP has condemnded a consultation process into the closure of thousands of Post Offices, writes Kate Nelson.

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill has written to the National Audit Office (NAO) asking it to extend its investigation into the consultations that led to the closures.

The NAO says it is scrutinising consultation processes throughout the country and is unable to comment on specific cases. In the letter, Mr Neill urged the NAO to investigate the closure of the East Street Post Office in Bromley last year arguing that the process was deeply flawed.

He said: "The consultation did not allow for residents to say whether or not they thought the Post Office should be closed and no business case was put forward to justify the closure. Many people were left perplexed as to why it should be moved into a branch of WHSmith."

A Post Office spokesman said: "All feedback received during the six-week consultation was taken into account. The consultation focused on customer service and access and not the partnership deal with WHSmith itself which is a commercial decision.

"The Crown office network is losing £70 million a year and these losses are clearly unsustainable. Doing nothing is not an option if we want to create a sustainable network of main offices into the future.

"The partnership with WHSmith in Bromley is excellent news for customers, as it not only provides extended opening hours, but the same wide range of services, the same counter availability and easy access with use of stairs, an escalator and a lift carrying a maximum of 13 people."

A spokesperson for the NAO said: "We are in the process of writing a response to Mr Neill. We are in the very early stages of a study in to the consultation processes of Post Office closures.

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